I first built Del’s Condor Terra-X up about a year ago for him – the brief had been to build a ‘cross bike that was a true “one-bike-for-all” set-up,… gravel in the Summer, road riding in the Autumn, ‘cross in the Winter and “classics” riding in the Spring – with a few small tweaks and a service it was time to see just what the Condor was capable of…
Condor have been making the Terra-X for a few seasons now and I’ve worked on lots of different versions. Del’s facelift version is a year old and is essential the same as the latest model – it’s worth noting that Condor have just announced a new “gravel” version of the Bivio-X with bolt-thru axles, which would be perfect for this application if you were considering a bike like this now. The addition of the bolt-thru axles should make disc alignment issues a thing of the past as well as adding stiffness to the areas that you need it.
Del is pretty on-it when it comes to keeping his bikes tidy so I didn’t have much cleaning to do, but as always I started by stripping off the mech, chain, cassette and crank. The BB and brake pads also needed changing after a winter’s worth of use and the headset and pedals needs re-greasing too. I also removed the TRP HyRd brake callipers too so I can bleed them properly.
The brakes are a cable actuated hydraulic piston, which allows you to use your existing standard cable brake levers (SRAM Force in this case) with a fully hydraulic calliper, which gives you vastly improved braking power and modulation. The TRP system is easy and clean to bleed with a pair of screw in syringes – new mineral oil is squeezed in at one end, forcing the old, dirty oil out at the other. Refitting to the bike is just a case of bolting the unit into place and clamping the cables back up. New end-caps and an adjustment of the barrels and the brakes are ready for the pave.
I fitted a new gear cable to ensure everything is as smooth as it can be, before checking the mech hanger alignment. The mech hanger is designed to bend in a crash, but modern mechs, especially like this 1x specific mech, have very high spring rates and over time will bend the hanger very slightly. It’s also easy to knock when you put the bike in the car so I always check them. Once that’s fine and the mech is clean, I bolt that back on with a smidge of grease and clamp the cable in place before putting the mech into a low gear and pulling on the cable to help pre-stretch it – you’ve got to be careful with this as it’s easy to get wrong and then damage things but the more stretch you can achieve now the less likely the client will have to come back for an adjustment later.
The wheels now get a clean-up and are checked to make sure they’re true – I specified traditional handbuilt wheels on Del’s bike so that this can be done for years to come. The disc brakes mean that rim wear is not an issue and cartridge bearings are easy to replace, so in theory these wheels really should last a lifetime if treated well. The cassette gets a clean, polish and is re-fitted with some grease before the wheels go back in the bike. For Paris Roubaix I’ve fitted a set of 33mm Schwalbe S-One (now called the G-One Speed) – these are set-up tubeless so Del can run very low pressures. You could go as low as 21/22psi, but for Paris Roubaix I’d recommend around 45/50psi in the front and 55/60ps at the back. This is a good compromise for the road sections which make up the majority of the course.
I’ve replaced the screw-in BB with plenty of grease and for Paris-Roubaix I’m fitting a slightly different chain ring to the Terra-X. The Praxis Works rings work really well but unfortunately I think they’re being forced to change the design, so Del’s bike is getting one of the last of the “narrow-wide” type rings that they produce. The teeth are sculpted to match the internal width of the chain and teamed up with the clutch on the rear mech the system keeps the chain on no matter what the pave has in mind. Grease on the chainring bolts, BB, crank spindle and adjuster is essential to stop creaks. Now I can refit the clean chain, lube it; adjust the gears and mechanically the bike ready.
Along with tyres the big change that is worth making for this ride is the bartape. On the small sections of hellingen in Flanders you can use a standard tape, but with Roubaix you’ll really benefit from some padding. I like the gel inserts that Fizik make and Del’s preference for the top layer is Lizard Skins tape which matches the yellow on the frame perfectly. Once fitted I run through any final gear adjustments, do a quick bolt check of everything, test-ride the bike, give it a rag-down and sign-off. Ready for the cobbles.
Photos by Glen Whittington.
Glen rides for the Southborough & District Wheelers. He races mountain bikes, road bikes, TT and ‘cross at local and national level. He receives personal support from Helly Hansen, Scott Sports, The Velo House, and the.æight.bicycle.cømpany. Glen runs The Velo House with Olly, a coffee shop, workshop and bike shop welcoming all cyclists and non-cyclists, based at 5 St.Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9TN – 01892 554 505 – firstname.lastname@example.org. He also contributes to Simpson Mag @eightbikeco #aeightracer